→ Start healthfully with our BMI Weight Loss Calculator

Fat-Burning & Muscle-Building Diet

By Reem H. Ibrahim

When it comes to building a lean, muscular physique, keeping a positive nitrogen balance is essential for achieving results. Food composition and intake frequency are the primary factors at play. Not all foods are created equal and generally, optimum nutrition is critical in boosting fat-burning potential and increasing muscle mass.


Eating right is synergistic to training. Diet ensures tone and definition rather than just ending up with massive bulk.

Fat loss results from a calorie deficit, whereas muscle gain requires a caloric surplus, rendering one process catabolic and the other anabolic. A diet specific for fat loss and muscle gain builds upon these principles. It integrates an ideal ratio between fat, protein and carbohydrates to ensure tissue repair and regeneration while addressing caloric requirements for fat loss and muscle gain.


Focus on highly nutritious whole foods and include a source of complete protein with every meal. Eat plenty of green fibrous vegetables and choose lean proteins, such as chicken breast, fish and eggs. Substitute processed and refined foods with whole grains and legumes; try the ancient grain quinoa for its renowned protein content and nutrient density. Also include sources of essential fatty acids to promote fat loss and increase oxygen transfer and metabolic rate. Good sources are coldwater fish and walnuts.

Time Frame

Meal frequency and timing is functionally important. Preferably consume starchy carbohydrates no later than 3 to 3:30 p.m., because a smaller number of calories from carbohydrates will dissipate as entropy and could result in fat storage. Eat small meals every two to three hours and include a complete protein to help stabilize blood sugar levels and avoid muscle wasting. Forgo late night eating and give yourself at least one or two hours of digestion time before sleeping.

Expert Insight

According to Tom Venuto, a steroids-free bodybuilder and author of the book "Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle,” an ideal ratio of proteins, carbohydrates and fat is around 40:40:20. This nutrient ratio follows the second law of thermodynamics, which mandates that a larger loss of energy will occur when protein or fat rather than carbohydrates have to be converted into our body’s main energy fuel: sugar.

The secrets to a successful fat loss and muscle building diet according to Venuto include carbohydrate tailoring, carbohydrate cycling and moderate carbohydrate consumption. These methods help avoid entering starvation mode and lessen the chance of reaching a fat-loss plateau.


Proper hydration is fundamental to achieving good results. Every physiological process of the body depends on water, including digestion and nutrient transportation, detoxification, body temperature regulation and building tissues. Muscles alone are composed of 70 percent water. Drink eight to 10 glasses per day; the rule of thumb is to add an additional glass to every 25 lbs. over your target weight.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by LIVESTRONG
Brought to you by LIVESTRONG

More Related Articles

Related Articles